Netanyahu aides: 'Bennett is a populist TV host'

Cabinet angered by Bennett's criticism, Opposition asks for his resignation. Supporters - he will keep 'saying what he believes.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Bennett at INSS
Bennett at INSS
Hen Galili

Sources close to  Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s remarks at the INSS conference were nothing more than “the comments of a populist television host.”

Bennett aroused a storm of criticism with his comments at the conference, many of which he was accused of “leaking” from cabinet discussions.

The Jewish Home chair said: "instead of purchasing more planes, instead of doing the same thing again and expecting different results - we must come up with a new plan. ...It is not the political deadlock that is our biggest threat, but rather the mental and philosophical deadlock. Instead of deciding our own future we are being dragged after the present circumstances which are dictating our future.”

Sources close to the Prime Minister said that it is “interesting to see that someone still does not understand the differences between being a cabinet minister and a populist television host. At a time when the IDF, Israel Security Agency and the police are fighting terrorists everyday, it is expected of cabinet ministers that they be responsible and help with our common goal, rather than leak ideas discussed in the cabinet that they are a part of, and spout them as populist slogans."

MK Yoav Kisch (Likud) also held the same opinion of Bennett’s comments.

“It would have been nice for Bennett, a cabinet minister, and one of the partners in decision making in the Israeli government, to refrain from shooting at the cabinet from within," he said in response. 

Kisch who is an F-16 reserve fighter pilot added that Bennett’s critique of the F-35 purchases during his speech was inappropriate, as “he himself voted for it in the cabinet.” He added that "while you can make a U-turn even while flying, I call on the Education Minister to work together with the Prime  Minister and the Defense Minister for the betterment of the country, and to leave the slogans behind.”     

Yedioth Aharonoth reported that Opposition head Yitzhak Herzog (Zionist Union) for the first time began to consider a national unity government yesterday, and also responded to Bennett’s comments. “Even the leader of the Jewish Home party, who spoke here [INSS conference] agreed with me today, and said himself that Netanyahu’s government does not have a solution to our problem and cannot bring security.”

Herzog went one step further in his discussion of Bennett’s comments. He said that Bennett gave a lot of criticism, “but did not suggest an alternative plan of action. I would expect of Bennett to do the socially conscious and responsible thing after making the comments he did. I would expect him to resign.”

Sources close to Bennett responded to the various criticisms that the comments evoked. “For the betterment and security of Israel and its citizens, Bennett will continue to say what he believes, even if there are others who don’t like hearing it. This is what he did during Operation Protective Edge, and it is what he will continue to do in the future”